Category Archives: Five Stars

The Infinite Wisdom

The Infinite Wisdom (The Snow Adventures Book 2) by [Estes, Danny C]

You can tell a good book from the first chapter. I loved the first paragraph, as the author used animal characters which I enjoyed reading. The story line is fun, and the reader easily falls in love with the characters. One good thing about this book is that the reader learns a few lessons after every chapter. Reading about animal characters is exciting, as apart from the knowledge we have about animals, the author added other traits to make the book more interesting.

Mr. Thomas Thelin and his wife were among my favorite characters in the book. I also loved Mrs. Svea Dovell as she was a bold character. She was also not afraid of showing her disgust towards the characters she didn’t like. Though aggressive at times, I loved her attitude. Some stories are broken into smaller bits, which make it easy for the reader to understand.

What better way of making the book a little colorful than to add pictures of characters? I loved that the author added images in between the chapters which made it easier to picture the characters’ habits and their physical looks. Johnny Roo’s outfit fits his character.

The Infinite Wisdom is a great read for fans of the fantasy genre as I found this book to be engrossing. The character development, as I’ve seen in many pieces by Danny Estes, is superb. Using anthropomorphic animals to tell the story adds an extra layer of intrigue to every piece of character interaction. This book is a fun read and I was quickly swept away as the characters navigate a genetics lab and track down the hairless apes.

The Infinite Wisdom is an excellent book for both young adults and anyone looking for a lighthearted read that still captures your imagination. Like any good author, Danny Estes has a good command of language and sets his character up for twists that I surely didn’t see coming.

I enjoy books that make me lose myself when reading and this book did exactly that. I couldn’t stop once I started.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07HD79PW5

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Apex Five: The Plane

Apex Five: The Plane, Book One by [Katz, Sarah]

Apex Five: The Plane, is a science fiction novel that details life on another plane of existence. We are given a very brief history of this world in the prologue, and then in Chapter 1 we find the story propelled forward about 12,000 years from a life altering event known as The Storm.

The first character we are introduced to is Nasin, and the story immediately takes a rather political turn. Nasin was sent to Tabir to try and secure a sort of trade deal between her own nation of Lir and the people of Tabir. The story and dialogue are well written, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was rather dry reading from the onset and it had a hard time keeping my attention. However, once we are introduced to Hazard 14, the story becomes a lot more intriguing.

The character Hazard 14, whose real name is Rohem, is absolutely fascinating. I think the author did a great job of describing his physical differences (anomalies?) from other people; the scene where he is being examined by the doctor in Lir was a great way to introduce the reader to his unusual abilities. From this point forward, it’s hard to put the book down. It’s clear from the beginning that the Tabirians think that Rohem is a dangerous criminal, while Nasin sees a vulnerable little boy who needs protection. The distinct differences between the Tabir and Lir nationalities really become apparent through their treatment of Rohem. I really loved how the author brought these things to light through his character, rather than in a more direct way.

I always think it’s a little bit difficult to get acquainted with characters in a science fiction novel of this type; where all the races and customs are new to the reader. As well as some of the names being a little difficult to pronounce. However, overall the author did a good job of creating dialogue between the characters that explains the characteristics and histories of the races while still seeming like natural conversation. A lot of times this type of description can seem forced and pretentious but I did not think that it came across that way in Apex Five.

I also found the imagery in the book to be really great. I could envision the different terrains; the dunes of Lir, the industrial feel of Tabir, the rainforests of the Ayam. The evolution of all the different groups of people, from the The Storm forward, is a very believable progression and also written really well. It’s clear that while their relationships with one another are largely diplomatic, there are undertones of distrust. For instance, when Nasin is in Tabir she is asked if they’ve (the Lir) succeeded in making any weaponry, to which she fibs and tells them they have not. The reader is quickly privy to the fact that something is culminating between the different races that is soon going to come to a head. This suspense definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall, I ended up enjoying the story thoroughly and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up any other book by this author.

Pages: 338 | ASIN: B07BRCRD8V

Buy Now From Amazon.com

House of Pain

House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]House of Pain, by Denna Holm, is a dark, provocative and devilish book that will leave you lusting for more!  The novel opens with a brother and sister cowering before a terrifying demon to whom they have made a promise. They must deliver on this promise or spend eternity kept alive simply to be tortured by this diabolical creature. Their promise comes in the form of the beautiful Magdalena, Maggie, who is half human/half demon. Although raised in a whorehouse she is our lovely virgin full of kindness but also the ability to suck life from people through sex! Holms paints a grim story of the future and it is not one of hope but one in which humans and nature have destroyed the Earth and demons can enter the planet and are on the cusp of entering to stay.

This is a dreary story in many ways, due to the state of the world in which it is set and the predicament of many of the characters but also ends up being very much a love story. Yes, there are erotic scenes and themes, but this story is truly about the endurance of family and the strength of love. It is slightly odd to write that about a book which includes incubus’s and succubus’s, a whorehouse full of debauchery and more but it is truly fitting in this first novel in what seems will be a series. I can definitely see future challenges arising for our main characters as well as the possibility of the portal re-opening. Demons are quite clever, after all!

I was impressed with the originality of this story. I love when authors create truly original story lines. It felt like this was a story in which the author was truly enmeshed. I want to know how she got the idea for this story. It was so uniquely creative and unlike any other fantasy story I’ve come across.

As stated earlier, there are some adult scenes, which are done respectfully but not appropriate for people under 17. I loved Holm’s writing style. It was dripping with tension, drama, romance, and a dark-side that I truly found intriguing. Her story did not drag on, the scenes moved quickly, and I did not want to put it down. I found it quite easy and fun to read! Be certain you are one who is down for some macabre, some romance and some sexiness in this fantasy fiction novel.

Pages: 335 | ASIN: B07HLP7QN1

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Christmas with Snowman Paul

Christmas with Snowman Paul by [Lapid, Yossi]

All Paul wants is to enjoy Christmas with his friend. He watches from the window as his friend eats and plays and sings with his family all winter long. Paul is a snowman, so he can’t go inside, or he will melt. This doesn’t stop him from longing for the companionship of others though. Paul’s friend takes his unhappiness seriously and with the help of his family, they work to come up with a plan to help Paul out.

Yossi Lapid has written an endearing children’s book and Joanna Pasek’s illustrations bring the story to life in a way that will capture the hearts of kids young and old. Christmas with Snowman Paul takes the idea of a snowman coming to life and gives it a different twist from the traditional stories we are used to. While Paul he can play with the kids and family outside in the day, it is not enough for him. He feels lonely and left out. Paul’s friend acts right away to do something to make him feel included. This is a great lesson for kids of all ages. It teaches about people being different, having different needs, and being compassionate. Such a simple story with many great life lessons on how to be a good person.

This would be a great book to kick off the winter season, while it focuses on Christmas it is a good book that could apply to any of the winter holidays.

Pages: 26 | ASIN: B076BX4KNQ

Buy Now From Amazon.com

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids!

So, You're Raising Your Grandkids!: Tested Tips, Research, & Real Life Stories to Make Your Life Easier by [Hodgson, Harriet]

It is common to see grandparents raise their grandkids. The reasons vary from the children getting in trouble, passing away, divorce, teen pregnancies, parents being in jail, not being in a capacity to raise the kids, or not having the right parental skills. Grandparents raising grandkids may seem easy, but it’s not. Harriet Hodgson takes us through the struggles, the fun times that create the relationship children have with their grandparents.

Harriet Hodgson uses real-life example to delivery some poignant and sage advice. She raised her daughters’ children, and so speaks from a position of experience throughout the book, but not as a teacher, more as a knowing grandparent. The kids were twins and raising them was an amazing experience. The author notes how difficult it can be when grandkids ask for information which you think would be best explained by their parents. Losing her daughter was painful. Grieving for her daughter, the twin’s father, her brother, and father in law was among the lowest moments in her life.

This book reads like a parenting guide for grandparents. Some may feel that, since they are grandparents, they know how to raise kids. But remember, you are raising kids from a different perspective now and this book illuminates those differences and helps you tackle them. The author writes about family values and helps one understand what children want and how they should be treated. Raising teens can be an uphill task for anyone. The writer shares her experience raising her grandkids in their teen years, and how adolescents react to issues.

The tips Harriet Hodgson shares should be mastered by everyone as they will always come in handy at some point in life. The book is written in a flowing style, with the author listing her thoughts then explaining later in detail. This book not only educates you on parenting, but also helps to understand and cope with grief.

Throughout the bok Harriet Hodgson words are backed by research and science. That is the other amazing thing about this book. Everything listed is a fact, and one gets to understand how some families come to be. From the texts in the book, one can tell that Harriet is excellent at care-giving.

I’ve learned a lot just by reading this book. Mourning can take a toll on someone, but there is always that period where you rise up. The author did well by talking about stress and the effect it has on kids and how one should take care of their health. You understand how you can encourage a child to aim higher and get to the peak in everything they do.

Pages: 200 | ASIN: B075J5YNKW

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Aeon Rises

Aeon Rises by [Cronin, Jim]

Justin Madrid, in Aeon Rises, is a teenager, unhappy with how he is fitting in with his peers. The problem? He is not fitting in with his peers. He is weird and different than most of the other teens around him. He cannot play video games without getting blinding migraines. He also can’t be on anything electronic. He does have one good friend, Kevin. He spends most of his time trying to get his mom to give him a ride to school instead of making him ride the bus. Oh, and he really wants a smartphone so the other kids will stop making fun of him. Sounds pretty typical, right? Well, the book takes a whole other direction almost immediately.

Jim Cronin creates a different, fun world in this engaging book. Justin soon learns that he is not at all who he thought he was. He also learns that all is not as it appears in his small town. For instance, there are aliens running the library (an idea most kids could probably buy). The Skutarans, led by bad guy Keldon Ankara, at the library immediately see Justin as a threat and the adventure begins. Justin’s uncle, Jonah, knows all of the information that has been kept from Justin. He takes over with Justin and opens up a whole new world for him. With all of the new information, it is now up to Justin to save Earth from the Skutarans.

I enjoyed this book from the first chapter. I was immediately pulled into the story. The main characters are all teenagers, but I don’t think that affects who would enjoy the book. I think I enjoyed it as much as my teens would. Aliens play a huge part in the book. That aspect of it was very entertaining. I enjoyed reading about earthlings through the eyes of the aliens.  It is very well written.

Along the way, Justin and his friend Kevin team up with an otherworldly girl named Myah. One of the best parts of the book is the way Justin and Kevin communicate in movie quotes, a fact that drives Myah crazy at first. It all evolves in a fun way though.

I would recommend this book to anyone, adult or child, science fiction lover or not. It was fast-paced and exciting. Despite it being science fiction, it was written in such a way that it almost seemed believable. I found myself reading it without having to suspend my disbelief. I also found myself thinking that the story would make a great movie. I liked the three young characters in the same way I liked the characters in Harry Potter when I first read that book. I highly recommend it.

Pages: 201 | ASIN: B07H5PCSJ4

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Dagger’s Destiny

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]

If you’re looking for a fantastical adventure with a hint of historical influence, then look no further than Dagger’s Destiny by Linnea Tanner. Beginning in Britannia when the Romans were making their presence known to the island nation, we are thrust into the center of turmoil. This is book two in a series, so it’s advisable to read the first installment before continuing. However, even if you come into the series with this volume, you will not be disappointed. With our strong female lead, Catrin, we follow the princess as she deals with the possible betrayal of her people by the one she loves, and the cold, unforgiving judgement her father, the king, passes on her because of it. This is only the beginning. It is not easy to break a curse that has been afflicted since your father’s generation. Will Catrin succeed in her father’s stead?

There is never a dull moment in this book, which is useful to those who may be experiencing the series for the first time. Tanner has a clear grasp on the historical aspects of her setting, showing that she has put in some research. This is a fantasy novel, of course, so there are liberties taken. Even so, the way she crafts the tale could make one believe that these are the true stories of an age long gone. It can be difficult to jump into a series without reading the first installment, but Tanner shares enough of the previous book and background so that those who are potentially new, or who have taken a long break between, will not be lost. Because her story is so intricate it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening. This is a wonderful skill that successful writers hone for years.

It can be difficult to make a book exciting, full of action, romance, and fantasy and still balance it with great characters. Catrin is our lead: she is strong, special and proud. A princess of Britannia who is in love with a man of Rome. A love like theirs is not welcomed in this age: her beloved is the enemy and she is seen as a fool. Despite her challenges, Catrin continues to rise above them, even if she is knocked down for a short period of time. This character creation shows the author’s dedication to telling a great story. So often tales that are full of action boast flat characters. Catrin seems to be alive within the pages of this book.

If you are looking for an exciting adventure that leaves you wanting more, do not pass up Dagger’s Destiny. Boasting fully developed characters and a well-defined setting, this book caters to all readers. The romance, fantasy, action and subterfuge are sure to win over readers from several genres. The core of the story is stable and the writing is excellent. A great addition to anyone’s bookshelf.

Pages: 333 | ASIN: B07G3G4G55

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Mall Hair Maladies

Mall Hair Maladies by [Volchko, Kristy Jo]

Mall Hair Maladies by Kristy Jo Volchko is a delightful throwback story that will take 80’s kids down memory lane. The book follows Tanya, the new kid in school, Randi, and their single parents. The two meet and quickly become inseparable best friends. Volchko describes a year in the life of two 13 year old girls in 1980’s America. Volchko delves into “a day in the life” right down to big, crimped, hair-sprayed hair, fingerless gloves, and arms lined with multi-colored jelly bracelets. The biggest obstacle in the girls’ lives is finding a way to go to the local Madonna concert. She’s their idol, and they will do just about anything to hear her belting her songs in person.

Volchko writing feels like a genuine first-hand account of crazy events told across a dinner table. Grammar and spelling are impeccable. Everything flows perfectly. Characters were well developed, with each one having enough background story for readers to get a good grip on who they are. The setting and different scenarios were described well. Volchko has a way of making you feel like you are right there with the characters mixing up things in the kitchen, having an awkward dinner with an uptight relative, or smoking in the girls room. I felt invested in her characters and their lives.

I loved the throwbacks to the 1980’s. I lived them, and the essence of that era was captured perfectly. Readers from that time will relate to the characters. They will see themselves and reminisce over their own 80’s stories. I love the real references to the music and fashion of the time. It was a simpler time in many ways, but pop culture, music, and fashion were anything but simple.

The story is a nice throwback to a safer time for kids. They could hop on a bus unattended and go all over town and return relatively unscathed. They had little fear of anything bad happening to them at all. Bad things happened, of course, but they didn’t seem so frequent. Volchko conveys that time of simplicity and relative safety very well. I’m not so sure the story would have played out the same if it was set in today’s world. It was nice to escape back to that time for a little while.

I love how easily the girls become best friends. I think we sometimes forget how simple that was as children. Two strangers implicitly trusted and loved each other without the bat of a fake eyelash, just because they did. They met. They liked each other. Simple.

Without getting too heavy, Volchko exposes some problems that commonly arise in families. These aren’t 80’s problems, but timeless problems. Tanya has an absent father, and Randi has an absent mother. Tanya’s grandmother is judgmental, hateful, and a huge source of stress for the family. Volchko shows how the characters deal with those issues. She gives examples of difficult family dynamics and how the characters navigate those storms. She also gives some hope with the introduction of a less dysfunctional family toward the end.

I’d recommend this book to anyone in middle school and up, though 80’s kids may appreciate it the most. I couldn’t have asked for more out of this book. Volchko has made me a fan. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the writing. I would love to read more of her work.

Pages: 265 | ASIN: B079SQYLRZ

Buy Now From Amazon.com

American River: Currents

American River: Currents: Book Two of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]

Kate’s family has just survived the devastating loss of her brother, Julian, and she is learning that her father’s coldness toward her beloved brother could have taken a much different turn had fate not intervened. As a new mother, Kate faces many challenges. One of those challenges is finding an effective and appropriate way to handle the affection she receives from Stefan, her husband’s friend and her sister’s true love. While Kate is facing one obstacle after another as a young mother, Tommy is reeling from the loss of his mother and coping with his fiance’s mysterious illness. Not to be left out of the cast of characters meeting life head-on, Marian is learning to love herself again with the help of a much younger and virile man named Nick.

Mallory M. O’Connor’s characters are a force with which to be reckoned in American River: Currents. O’Connor has created one of the most unique blends of historical fiction and the soap operas of the 80s. This lengthy novel features three families, ethnically diverse and intertwined in each other’s lives–in some cases, too much so. The bounce back and forth between chapters gives the entire book the comfortable feel of watching episodes of a well-established soap opera.

O’Connor has, without a doubt, done the research and created amazingly accurate and detailed accounts of historical events. Each of these events is not just described but somehow affects the characters day-to-day lives. From Cesar Chavez to John F. Kennedy, she has succeeded in further bringing life to her characters by having them live through gripping and history-making events.

As O’Connor’s chapters tend to vary from one family to the next, I found that I looked most forward to those focusing on Marian and Nick. To say the two are interesting would be putting it mildly. In an otherwise heavy book, Marian and Nick’s dynamic provides much-appreciated lighthearted moments and a breather from the drama of the other family members. Marian, not without her own faults, is my favorite character. Being one of the older characters in O’Connor’s work, she is struggling to make her way as an artist and is learning to love herself again and finding that trust is something she just might be able to feel once more. Nick is just the remedy for what ails her.

I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of sadness at the relationship between Alex and Stefan. I see Alex as a strong woman who is, when it comes to personal relationships, weak and needy. The manner in which she pursues Stefan is almost pitiful. She is an interesting character indeed.

It seems like such an obvious thing to note, but I love the way O’Connor ends each chapter. Not every author currently producing books brings chapters to a nice, succinct close. O’Connor provides closure and never leaves reader hanging or feeling as if they have hit a brick wall when the new chapter quickly takes a new direction.

American River: Currents is beautifully written and consists primarily of long strings of dialogue between well-developed and easy to visualize characters. A long book but one that is an almost effortless read, American River: Currents is sure to engage readers and lead them to follow the cast of characters into the rest of O’Connor’s books in the series.

Pages: 453 | ASIN: B07BJ3XT2M

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Encore

Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3) by [Bensko, Tantra]

Encore is Book 3 in the Agents of the Nevermind series brought to you by author, Tantra Bensko. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job writing a story line that intertwines themes of history, myths, politics, psychology magic, cultism, religion and romance. A clever author that sets out to achieve a contemporary love story with a touch of Gothicism. The author does a marvellous job at blending themes and motifs together in order to build up tension and create an epic dark read. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a psychological suspense story – guaranteed to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.

The narrative of Encore is imaginative and unique, which allows readers to really think about the importance of different aspects of their lives. The plot of this book mostly revolves around Colin, a Bennu performance troupe’s hypnotist who abducts Susan and takes her to a castle. This weird relationship sees Colin slightly fixated with Susan’s character, pretending to be her husband to solidify their romance. However, the story unfolds with lots of twists and mysteries that are questionable to the reader. The reader is constantly left wondering what is happening and why. This is a great feeling for a reader of the paranormal genre. What more could you possibly want?

The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Bensko structures her book clearly and it’s easy to follow. I think that paranormal activities are apparent throughout the book, which makes for a great read. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job at trying to write something for her readers that takes them out of their comfort zone and into something quite edgy and Gothic. Her writing is exceptional throughout the book and allows readers to fully engage with the topics being explored.

Having read this book, I believe it clearly captures the paranormal and suspense genres to an exceptionally high standard. I was hooked right from the opening chapters and was left overwhelmed and intrigued when I put the book down.

Encore is a dark read with dark characters and an ever-evolving plot. I think the author has done a great job at creating all sorts of emotions from the ideas of love as well as complete fear. This is a unique contribution to the world of Gothic literature and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Overall, Encore is an exciting and intriguing read that has opened my eyes to the world of the paranormal genre. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the paranormal world. Even if you aren’t that interested, I think it’s worth a shot, as I think you too will be impressed with the story of Encore.

Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07HQYNL7K

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: